This post is sponsored by California Strawberries, whose sweetness will surely inspire you to start the new year right with this Strawberry and Quinoa Parfait and the opportunity to win a Vitamix blender.
If you’re like me, moving into the new year means coming down from my holiday foodie high of sweets, treats and not-especially-healthy-eats and confronting myself with reality.
That boils down to clearing out the stash of Christmas cookies and the last sips of eggnog and making room for more healthful fruit and veggies for this girl. STAT!
With this as my first recipe post of 2014, it seems only fitting to have it start with the most important meal of the day: breakfast. And since I’m six days in and feeling all gung-ho with my annual analysis of what I feed this body of mine, I’m leaving the eggs, french toast and waffles for later.
Today we’re starting off simple. And fresh. And easy. With strawberries.
While I love eating strawberries in everything from grilled cheese to dessert nachos or slicing them to layer on my morning toast instead of jam, when my berry-licious friends at California Strawberries asked me to create a recipe to celebrate 365 Days of California Strawberries, to start the year off right. A parfait went to the top of this berry lovers’ list.
With strawberries and three different kinds of delicious—but very different—protein sources, my Strawberry Quinoa Parfait is sort of like a superfood in itself.
This Strawberry Quinoa Parfait is a snap to bring together, making it perfect for conning your kids into thinking that, yes, they really do want to go back to school. And for those of us who are getting-back-into-the-work-mode-groove you can take the ingredients to work and make it for a healthy breakfast or snack even.
Healthy, yes indeed. Let’s break this parfait down.
Strawberries are packed with vitamin C, with one serving of 8 strawberries delivering more vitamin C than one orange, making it an antioxidant lover’s dream and possibly preventing some types of cell damage. They’re low in calories, high in folate and sweeten everything they touch. They’re pretty much a superfruit. And don’t they make every recipe look oh-so pretty?
Protein-rich ingredient #1: Greek Yogurt
I use Greek yogurt in this recipe because I am totally into the creaminess and thickness since it makes me feel fuller, and there’s a reason for that. Greek yogurt is strained to remove much of the liquid whey, lactose and sugar regular yogurt retains. The straining is what gives it its thick consistency, and in just about the same amount of calories, Greek yogurt has double the protein and half the sugar. It’s time to go Greek friends.
Plain or vanilla flavored will work just fine, it all depends on your preference. Some makers also have a honey flavor. Go for it if you can find it.
Protein-rich ingredient #2: Quinoa
Another protein packed layer in this strawberry parfait, quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine of the essential amino acids, but can’t be made by the body so it must come from food. And while many call it a grain, it isn’t actually a grain at all. It’s a relative to spinach, and what we’re eating is the seed of the plant. Bonus: it’s gluten-free so great for insulin control aka those of us on diets because it won’t boost sugar levels in the bloodstream.
Protein-rich ingredient #3: Nuts
This protein source is one you should know about by now. Nuts are high in protein and healthy fats, and certain kinds like almonds, hazelnuts, pecans and walnuts help control cholesterol and glucose levels, keeping everything flowing in the right direction.
So how about that contest to win a Vitamix?
Simply visit California Strawberries and if you’re 18 years or older, enter to win the Vitamix Mixer.
- 1 cup vanilla or plain greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 5-6 strawberries, stemmed and quartered
- ¼ cup cooked quinoa
- 1-2 tablespoons sliced almonds
- fresh mint leaves for garnish
- Mix the greek yogurt and honey together in a small bowl. Spoon ⅓ of the yogurt mixture into a glass or parfait bowl. Top with ⅓ of the quartered strawberries and ⅓ of the quinoa. Sprinkle with a few almonds slices.
- Repeat with the remaining yogurt, strawberries, quinoa and almonds so there are three layers total. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and drizzle with additional honey if desired.
This post and contest are sponsored by California Strawberries and I’m happy to partner with them since my family and friends love strawberries.
As always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you.